Top 10 Book Cover Design Tips
That old piece of advice, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” has never really been followed; in fact, 93% of purchasing decisions are based on the logo, product, packaging, and other visual perceptions.
Books are the same way. How hardcovers and paperbacks look and feel have high importance when marketing written content. The front cover or spine cover leads to the potential reader picking up the book, gazing at the back, the inside flap, the first few pages…
Truthfully, your cover is incredibly crucial to your book’s success.
Read on to learn the top 10 book cover design tips to attract more buyers.
Create a Cover with the Reader in Mind
This means a few different things.
First, you should be designing your cover from the point of view of the reader. This means giving yourself a book cover that you would pull from the shelf and instantly want to read.
Second, you need to know how people buy books nowadays. Imagine the book cover as a thumbnail on Amazon Kindle or the Barnes & Noble Nook store. It has to be visually appealing at various sizes, from less than an inch to a full-fledged hardcover.
With the reader in mind, you’ll get into the marketing thought process of selling your cover.
Know Your Audience
This next book cover design tip builds off of the first tip. Just like any other product out there in the world, you’ll want to do some primary target market research. Your book’s audience will be people who read that genre or read your work religiously or peruses the shelves – online or in-person – looking for a specific topic.
Collect data on those who read your material, then create a persona for which you can design your book cover. What would that hypothetical person be attracted to in a book cover?
Stay Away From Overused Design or Cliches
For instance, if you wrote a book about murder, a bloody knife is so overdone. Same goes for money symbols and finance books, food and cookbooks, dystopian future novels and the main character looking into the abyss.
If it’s been done time and time again, perhaps steer clear of this path. You want to be as successful as other books in your field but you want to stand out from the crowd as well. Toe the line between cliche and popular; this is the sweet spot.
Right in the Feels
This book cover design tip could be the most important one.
Your cover needs to invoke some sort of emotion with the buyer. It has to give them a sense of mystery or intrigue. They need to ask themselves, “Hmm, I wonder what this book is about.”
Get their heart rates up, excite their breath, and have them grasping at the closest copy. Conduct research to see which covers on your shortlist gives potential readers the most emotional response.
You don’t just want people to read your book; you want people to have to read your book!
Be Openminded (Even Though it’s Your Baby)
Sometimes, other people have good suggestions. We know it’s your book and you want it done your way. But more often than not, you don’t get any say when it comes to your book cover’s design.
The reason why is that once it gets to the book cover, the design artist isn’t working for the author – they’re working for the publisher. And the publisher wants to sell as many copies as possible. So they will together construct a highly marketable book cover.
So, be able to let go some of the powers of your book cover design. Others also want your book to succeed; they’ll make sure it looks incredible.
All Show, No Tell
A spin-off from creating emotion in the reader, showing the reader what the book is about is much better than telling them with words.
Other than the title, author name, notable achievements of the book, and maybe a quick quote from another writer, it should be all images. Okay, maybe a subtitle. But you want people to see the book as an explanation of the story or narrative inside via images.
Get specific with your showing. Add in the main character, the cast, important objects, and scenery to depict how this book will make you feel when reading it.
Get Input From the Fans
Ask your audience is a tremendous book cover design tip. Poll the people on social media. Provide a choice of three or four different covers – the final options.
Give them a few days to decide which one resonates with them most. When you get the results back, if the winner is obvious, you just got free marketing data. Go with the winning book cover.
If it isn’t crystal clear, at least you’ll probably shorten the decision to two covers. When indecision is in everyone involved in the process, this is a nice tactic to try.
Symbolism for the Win
A specific tip from the “show, don’t tell” thread, you want to use symbols to represent the overarching theme of the book’s content.
With the title and your symbol clearly on the cover, together they signify what the book is about without any additional words or imagery. This also lets your book cover be minimalistic, a current trend that’s really popular with readers.
Genre, Tone, & Mood
Of course, this book cover design tip should go without saying.
Know what your genre is, what your tone and mood are. Horror, fantasy, romance, serious, silly, lighthearted, from the POV of a child, a 50-year-old woman, an alien. Take into consideration all of this; you can research other titles in your realm and see what works.
The last thing you want to do is mislead your reader. If it’s a serious book, use serious details. If it’s a book about improving your lifestyle, invoke a feeling of hope with your book cover.
The Nitty-Gritty: Typeface and Imagery
Last but not least, you want a typeface and images that ties all of these tips together. All of your research, knowledge about genre, tone, mood, showing over telling, symbolism, emotion, audience, and cliches come down to this.
What typeface works for your book? What exact images do best in showing what your book is about? The details matter in a book cover. Make sure to get everything right.
Use These Book Cover Design Tips for Massive Success
We hope these book cover design tips have got you thinking about how to market your cover to the masses. Everybody judges a book – and purchasing that book – by how the cover looks and feels. Make your book cover a great one.
If you’re looking for more help with your book cover, look no further! Book Creative has you “covered” with their amazing book cover templates.